After five years, who knows how many shows, an EP, a 7”, and an LP, I will be playing my last show as the drummer for The Ambulars this Friday night. It’s a big decision and a big moment in my life. The Ambulars has been a special band, and it’s been a constant where major changes in my life have taken me this way and that. There’s a lot to say, and I’ll be saying some more about it. Here are, for now, just ten photos that jumped out at me as kind of encapsulating these times.
1. Jen and I at Addis Abbaba in Silver Spring, I think after the Chase reunion show, in December 2008. My friendships with Jen and Mikey when I moved back to D.C. were the major impetus to starting The Ambulars.
2. Mikey and I, I think at the farewell Girl Cave, Caitlin’s house, party in August 2009, fittingly where we played five shows that summer. We had already had our first “summer of the Ambulars.”
3. Joey was our original drummer, and here must be after our first show, with Spoonboy and Best Friends Forever, taken on the lawn outside the Girl Cave. That’s James who we’re holding, one of our good friends and one of my oldest, who made a homemade Ambulars shirt for our first show. It was some hilarious interpretation involving an ambulance and the word Lars.
4. Our big tour was the summer of 2010, almost three weeks. This is in Houston, and we were up to some typical antics that I am having trouble remembering…I think it involved cleaning out dead bugs of the radiator and honking a lot.
5. Probably the best show of that tour, at the saint bar in New Orleans, where we played with Small Bones and Lovey Dovies. That might have been the highlight of tour.
6. We played a couple acoustic shows in our day- especially when things were in flux in our lineup. This was in my living room at T Street, where we played with Spoonboy, Carni, and my buddy Max’s project. There was something really special and good about that night. I feel like when we stripped it down to bare bones like that, we really had some magic going on.
7. More tour antics- this time at Lemp Arts in St. Louis, where we played and stayed afterwards. It was a strange night for many reasons- but one really fun thing was playing piano interpretations of all our songs together, for which I for some reason donned a red bow tie…and little else.
8. Outside my parent’s house in Silver Spring, using Ashley’s van, right before we took off to New York City for our first show of the 2010 tour. Danny played second guitar for us for that year, and had been a friend of mine since I started college, so it was special to play music with him. And Carni had been my friend for almost nine years at that point- and he really elevated that tour to another level just by being the coolest dude, and most excellent and organized roadie that’s ever been.
9. Jen and Mikey in Baltimore, probably while we were recording our full length, in winter of 2011-2012. We recorded three different times, all with Joe in Baltimore. A lot of being in a band is down time, quiet time, weird time, between the time where the stuff happens, and we made it fun. Taken by Ramsey.
10. The obligatory band photo in Austin, in front of the Daniel Johnston mural on Guadalupe, summer tour 2010. The Ambulars went through various incarnations, but for me, it will always be etched in my mind as the three of us. It changed my life so much, and I grew so much from it and there’s no way I’d be where I am today without it. I’ll miss it and I’ll never forget it, and I love you guys, and know that you will continue to to melt hearts and minds everywhere for years to come.